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The Racing Dudes react to Society winning the 2022 Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx. The Steve Asmussen-trained Society went gate to wire for an easy victory, thanks in large part to jockey Florent Geroux’s quick break. Is she now a major player for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1)? What about the 2022 Kentucky Oaks (G1) champion Secret Oath? Watch the replay for the Racing Dudes’ INSTANT reactions, then tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds’ homebred Society used her speed to her advantage to win the 52nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 5 3/4 lengths under jockey Florent Geroux Saturday at Parx Racing.
The Kentucky-bred daughter of Gun Runner finished under a hand-ride in 1:42.94 for the 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track to score her first Grade 1 victory.
“I was content just to keep her off of the pace if it was honest enough,” Geroux said. “But honestly, after three jumps I was already in the lead. I was clear. Everything went very nicely. I just tried to relax as much as I could. She’s extremely quick. Those horses have a ton of speed so the worst thing you can do is try to and get them off rhythm. You want to try and stay the same tempo and keep them relaxed.”
Shipping in from Saratoga for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, the 7-1 Society played the role of spoiler as Secret Oath came in looking for her second Grade 1 win of the season along with the Kentucky Oaks. A win by the 2-1 second choice would have also put the D. Wayne Lukas trainee back into the conversation for champion 3-year-old filly. Nest currently sits atop the list with three Grade 1 wins on the season.
Briland Farm’s Secret Oath, who usually stalks the pace on the front-end, instead dropped back early under Luis Saez and held sixth as Society ran the opening quarter in :23.33. Goddess of Fire and Green Up ran second and third, respectively, behind Society’s half-mile in :46.75. Saez began to hustle Secret Oath amid a three-wide run and closed into third while Society ran 6 furlongs in an effortless 1:10.93.
Society got a subtle urge at the top the stretch by Geroux, and after running a mile in 1:36.29 and a few left-handed taps of the whip, she widened her advantage to the finish. Secret Oath weakened from there and wound up 2 lengths behind hard-charging longshot Morning Matcha for the place spot. Green Up finished 6 1/4 lengths behind Secret Oath in fourth as the 9-5 favorite.
Despite the loss, Lukas remains set on sending his filly on to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Keeneland Race Course.
“Do you ride for second or do you try to ride the one that is out there down?” Lukas said. “(Secret Oath) made that big move on the middle of the turn and she is running faster than any of them. He had to make that move. The pacesetter was just too far in front.
“I was concerned when (Society) was on the far side over there approaching the three-eighths pole. We were really going to have to pick it up in order to catch the one that was cruising up front. Secret Oath ran her race today. I didn’t see anything that I didn’t like except we were trying to chase down a tremendous bias. We weren’t the only ones chasing, what, 5, 6, 7, 8 lengths? We were all chasing the bias.”
LC Racing, Cash Is King and Gary Barber’s Morning Matcha, starting in her first Grade 1 stakes for Parx-based trainer Butch Reid, closed from last amid a ground-saving trip under Paco Lopez to gain the runner-up spot at 48-1.
“That was the plan, I knew she’d come running,” Reid said. “That one horse [Society] got loose, you know, but she came flying. She ran on the inside, and just a great job by Paco. She ran great.”
Society, making her fifth start of the year, now owns two consecutive wins after her 6 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks Aug. 26. That was her second graded stakes start after finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. Shahama, Adare Manor, Goddess of Fire, Gerrymander and Beach Daze completed the order of finish.
Jockey Florent Geroux (Society, first):“I know if I kept her relaxed (I would win). I was content just to keep her off if the pace if it was honest enough, but honestly after three jumps I was already in the lead. I was clear. Everything went very nicely. I just tried to relax as much as I could. She was very nice for me down the backside. I felt like I was going nicely, but I wasn’t going crazy. She’s extremely quick. those horses have a ton of speed so the worst thing you can do is try to and get them off rhythm. You want to try and stay the same tempo and keep them relaxed.”
Trainer Butch Reid (Morning Matcha, second):“That was the plan, I knew she’d come running. That one horse [Society] got loose, you know, but she came flying. She ran on the inside, and just a great job by Paco. She ran great.”
Jockey Paco Lopez (Morning Matcha, second): “I know my filly was a longshot but she’s always running in the money. She ran very well after a good breeze last time. Even though it’s a Grade 1 I thought she could be 1-2-3. I thought she could make one run. She might want to run further, it was just a little short for her. I wish the race was a mile and an eighth. Something like that, but there aren’t too many races like that. Butch told me before the race, ‘she’s trained so well Paco.’ ”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas (Secret Oath, third): “Do you ride for second or do you try to ride the one that is out there down? (Secret Oath) made that big move on the middle of the turn and she is running faster than any of them. He had to make that move. The pacesetter was just too far in front. I was concerned when (Society) was on the far side over there approaching the three-eighths pole we were really going to have to pick it up in order to catch the one that was cruising up front. Secret Oath ran her race today. I didn’t see anything that I didn’t like expect we were trying to chase down a tremendous bias. We weren’t the only ones chasing, what, 5, 6, 7, 8 lengths? We were all chasing the bias.
What do you do next? “The Breeders’ Cup.”
Did you expect that from Society?: “No. I am not familiar with Society. She has good connections. What surprised me was the speed bias. The horses that were behind us, there were a bunch of them back there chasing it.”
Jockey Luis Saez (Secret Oath, third): “She made a nice move at the half-mile poled. We tried to get up to the winner, but we got close, she rebroke, so it was a pretty tough race. She ran her race. The track was not in her favor today. It has been pretty fast and the speed has been holding. It looked like you had to be one, two or three. She tried. She tried hard.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Green Up, fourth): “The winner, that was an unbelievable performance. She came out of there running and she never came back. I thought I was in great shape on the backside. The pace was a little fast and I was happy where I was. I made a move at the half-mile but couldn’t catch up. She ran a really good race. I’m very happy with her.”
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